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    Have you visited Sankopark?

    Güven Sak, PhD15 August 2009 - Okunma Sayısı: 1399


    Have you recently gone to Gaziantep? And if you have, have you also visited Sankopark? I have. Sankopark seemed to me as a sign that the efforts to spread industrial activities around Anatolia are paying. It stood up as an indicator that Turgut Ozal reforms have taken root around the region. When I saw Sankopark, I understood once more the Smart Industry Project of the Chamber of Industry of Gaziantep.


    First of all, two quick notes for those wondering what Sankopark is. Sankopark is the new shopping mall of Gaziantep province. It has been opened in April 2009 with the participation of Honorable Prime Minister of Turkey. It is a giant mall composed of four floors. You enter the mall in a broad atrium. The mall also has four secondary atriums. Sankopark is a big shopping mall resembling the malls in Istanbul, Ankara or Izmir. It contains an ice skating rink, cinemas and book stores. But, as repeated, it is in Gaziantep. Recently, I bought a book on 17th century China from D&R bookstore in the mall. As a friend from Kayserili referring to the Acıbadem International Hospital in Kayseri said, now, everything you can find in Istanbul and Ankara, you can also find in Kayseri and Gaziantep. This is an important point. This is of importance for jumping to the second level in the industrialization of Anatolia. Sankopark is an indicator for how industry can transform a region. It is highly functional and good.


    Shopping malls symbolize the transformation of the market place. Shopping malls reflect the change in our lifestyle. Have you noticed? Shopping malls are the new resorts of the modern age. In the past, resorts referred to countryside, a brook, flowers, bugs and trees. People would ride around in their cars and walk on countryside areas. Then came the Westernization. Countryside turned into picnic sites. In my childhood, the resorts were as follows: Children would sit on swings. People would play with a ball and eat together outside. In every province there was a resort area: Goksu in Istanbul, Temenyeri in Bursa, and all was referred to with the above mentioned codes. Resorts in poems of Edip Cansever were also composed of these elements. But how, those elements have changed. Along with the changes in our life styles, shopping malls have highly modernized the concept of resort. It is open to discussion whether or not this is a good thing. However, modernization of resort areas indicates that we have entered a new phase in the spread of industrial activity toward Anatolia. We had better note this fact. Those thinking on how to spread industrial activity toward Anatolia had better focus on the vital points of the issue rather than baseless investment incentives.


    That Sankopark has been constructed by Sanko Holding, one of the symbols of Gaziantep and Anatolian capital, indicates that the industrialization efforts in Anatolia have been paying off. From this point on, Turkey's concern is not the industrialization of the country; it is the leaping of the industry to a higher level on the value chain. Smart Industry Project of the Chamber of Industry of Gaziantep must be evaluated as a project to ensure the leap to a higher level on the value chain and is quite meaningful.


    Sankopark shows that, despite the incompetence of Ankara about industrial policy, Anatolian capital has taken the lead to solve its problems alone. How? It is quite simple: by simulating in their own provinces everything that can be found in Istanbul and Ankara. Why is this important? First, this is important to attract minor and senior personnel to the industrializing province. Minor and senior personnel are of importance to ensure that the industry leaps toward a higher degree on the value chain. In fact, they are more important than skilled labor. Minor and senior personnel primarily demand a social environment.  They ask for schools fulfilling world standards for their children. They demand hospitals that can rely on in sickness which also provide hotel services. They need shopping malls and other social spaces in which their wives can spend time with peace just as in Istanbul and Ankara. They demand hotels to go to for family brunches at weekends. They need decent facilities to drink wine with foreign friends in town for a business trip. Young professional women in the personnel need places to socialize without being disturbed.


    In short, in a place where dining out culture has not developed smart industry cannot be established or leap through to a higher level on the value chain cannot be succeeded. If industrialization is to deepen, it is indispensible that the social pattern of the city starts to change. Otherwise, minor and senior personnel quality cannot be secured, people to make innovations, sign agreements with foreigners or develop the business model of the firm cannot be attracted. In that case, you also have to pay high salaries to second-quality personnel. Assessed in this lens, Sankopark is a symbol for the ongoing change in Anatolia and is important.


    Sankopark assigns a responsibility to Anatolian entrepreneurs. What is this responsibility? The liberalization attempts by Turgut Ozal have succeeded. Yes, he appears to have wasted resources. However, ultimately the mission has been completed. Industry is now Anatolian. How it is time for the leap toward a higher degree. Each businessperson that constructs a shopping mall, hospital, modern elementary and high schools in the province he/she lives constitutes a piece of the industrial policy. This is the reality whether or not Ankara devises to support it. Each entrepreneur taking the mentioned steps must know that he/she is storing up to enable the leap of Anatolian industry towards a higher level on global value chain. Turkey still has a chance in international competition not because of Ankara but Sankopark and similar projects. This should be perceived as it is.


    In the point we have reached, industry does not only compose basic infrastructure as roads, water and electricity services. It is moving a certain life style from one province to another. This is what smart industry means. As the number of professionals from other provinces coming to Gazinatep to work increases, Gaziantep can become a basis of Smart Industry as underlined in the new campaign of Chamber of Industry of Gaziantep.


    Are you depressed? Go to an Anatolian province you have not visited for long. Make sure that province has completed industrialization process. See how Turkey has been changing permanently. Turkish modernization has been proving highly successful. To see this, you have to visit Anatolia. And if you have visited Kabul and Gaza a while ago and remembered how Turkey was three and five decades ago; you will find the progress made astonishing. If you have doubts about the position of Turkey in this region, please visit Sankopark. If you wait, you can also visit the shopping mall in Kahramanmaraş.

    Industrialization process in Anatolia, initiated along with the measures introduced in 1980, has completed the first phase. To the information of those unaware of this.


    This commentary was published in Referans daily on 15.08.2009